Sri Lanka to appeal Chandimal ball-tampering ban

Rob Forsaith
Sri Lanka to appeal Chandimal ball-tampering ban

A judicial stoush between Sri Lanka and the International Cricket Council looms large, with the sport facing its first test in an attempted ball-tampering crackdown.

The Cape Town cheating scandal in March had life-changing consequences for Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who copped long bans from Cricket Australia (CA).

But it also served as a circuit-breaker, with the ICC now wanting to punish tampering more consistently and sternly.

Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal, slapped with a one-Test ban by the ICC when found guilty of tampering during recent second Test against the West Indies in St Lucia, is the first to be booked since Bancroft.

The captain confirmed on Thursday he is appealing.

The offence has resulted in widespread indifference in Sri Lanka, compared to the nation-wide fury and one-year ban a tearful Smith copped.

Chandimal's weapon of choice was sweets rather than sandpaper.

The biggest source of outrage has been Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) but it's been directed at officials. The governing body insists Chandimal is innocent.

The situation is delicately placed - and not just because Chandimal is now risking a longer ban.

Chandimal will appeal. Pic: Getty

Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and manager Asanka Gurusinha face Test suspensions after being charged with "conduct contrary to the spirit of the game". Their side initially refused to take the field after the tampering charge.

SLC is likely to take that case to a judicial commissioner.

There are some parallels with the Oval saga of 2006, when Pakistan were deemed to have forfeited a Test over ball-tampering allegations. That episode led to years of heated spats over the result, Darrell Hair's capacity to umpire and the ICC's governance.

It's understood ICC chief David Richardson has long been a supporter of a tampering crackdown - as evidenced by his charging of compatriot Faf du Plessis following a Test in Hobart.

But the crisis in Cape Town made it a burning issue that demanded more attention.

The topic was raised at a meeting of the ICC's cricket committee, chaired by former India captain and coach Anil Kumble, three weeks ago.

The influential advisory group, which features widely-respected umpire Richard Kettleborough and the ICC's chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle among its members, spoke at length about tampering and agreed there should be harsher sanctions and better policing.

The ICC is yet to change penalties for tampering but that is expected to happen after upcoming meetings in London.

Match referees are already telling captains around the world during pre-series briefings the dodgy practice will be targeted and not tolerated.

The challenge for officials is that broadcasters often find the smoking gun - as was the case with du Plessis, Bancroft and Chandimal.

Many players feel touring sides are generally scrutinised by cameras a lot more than their hosts.